El Bulli is famous for its Spanish tapas – small share plates of food to be enjoyed with sangria and in good company. We ventured to this Surry Hills establishment to take advantage of a Groupon deal and share a 11 course feast!
We started with the Pan con Queso y Jamon, which was toasted ciabatta bread with machengo cheese and jamon. This was a nice introduction, and the cheese and meat were cut thinly and were easily stacked on top of the bread to be eaten together. We then had the Aceitunas Mezcladas, which are stuffed spiced olives. Thankfully, they weren’t too spicy and were very delicious. The Chickpea and Chorizo broth was also brought out at the same time, which definitely had a kick to it! The only thing I would have preferred with that dish was for the chorizo pieces to be a bit larger, which would have added to the dish.
We then had Croquetas de Jamon, Salt and Pepper Chipirones, and Patatas El Bulli, which all came out together. The Patatas were our clear favourite, as they were soaked in Bravas dressing and were creamy and soft. The Chipirones were also delicious dipped in the aioli provided, and the squid was well cooked, and not overdone. The Croquetas, however, were a bit of a let down, as they were mushy and not very flavourful, and the nice fried texture on the outside was not well balanced with the inside flavours.
We moved on after that to the Mejillones en Salsa Picante, BBQ Alitas and Almejas Tallarinas con Jamon. The chicken wings were really spicy and flavoursome, and the mussels (Mejillones) were well cooked, but the pippies (Almejas) weren’t as delicious, and were quite fiddly to eat.
Finally, we had the Medallion Del Rey, which was an eye fillet medallion with onions and blue cheese butter. By this point we were extremely full, but I still really enjoyed the steak and thought it was well cooked. This came out with the Pinchitos de Gambas, whcih was a skewer of grilled prawns that finished the meal off nicely, with strong saffron and cinnamon flavours coming through.
With the deal, we were able to buy $5 sangria, so we got two glasses each. The red sangria tasted quite bitter at first but grew on me with a few mouthfuls, but the peach sangria was my personal favourite, and so sweet and a nice contrast to the heavier food. The watermelon and strawberry options were light and refreshing as well!
The decor was lovely, with chillies and other greenery adorning the walls and candles on the tables, with cultural decorations all around. There was even a cosy fireplace in the back, which was perfect for the cold winter night! The restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived at 5, but filled out by the time we left at 7. Service was quite quick, and courses came in threes, but the spaced out time was necessary because of the amount of food we had to get through.
For a Spanish feast and some sweet sangria, head over to El Bulli in Surry Hills! Be sure you’ve got your walking shoes on though, because it’s a bit of a trek from Central, but well worth the walk!